Sal Maglie was the other pitcher in some of the most memorable games in baseball history.  On this episode of Cover the Bases we speak with biographer Judith Testa, who provides us with insights into the story of  Sal Maglie: Baseball’s Demon Barber and how his persona (and nickname) transcends his baseball legacy. We also discuss those baseball moments that every fan will recognize and highlight Sal’s role in the game.

Sal Maglie | Judith Testa | Baseballisms.comAs we do with all guests on Cover the Bases, we start off by asking Judy what compelled her to write a book about a New York Giants pitcher who was usually the opponent for a young Brooklyn Dodgers fan growing up in the suburbs of New York.  As she eloquently states, she learned baseball along with the English language.  There was something fascinating about the pitcher on the Giants that conveyed menace through an old black and white television, and as an adult she remembered her feelings for the game and the player.

Maglie presented himself as the perfect subject for Judy to write about in a biography.

There is something romantic about a city with three major league baseball teams. This was an era when baseball coverage was in depth via newspaper and radio, and to a later extent television, so that the conversation and buzz around town was all about the team’s fortunes and the favorite players who performed on a nightly basis.

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame is the third most frequently heard tune in the U.S. behind Happy Birthday and the Star Spangled Banner.  It evokes instant images of green grass, sunshine, the crack of a bat, and as Warner Fusselle is quoted as saying “it’s the happiest minute in sports”.  Our guest on this episode of Cover the Bases is Tim Wiles, the author of Baseball’s Greatest Hit: The Story of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  We are fortunate to have such a renowned expert on the subject of baseball and popular culture join us on the program.  Tim is the Director of Research at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown.

Baseballs Greatest Hit | Tim Wiles | Baseballisms.comAlthough he was hesitant at first to take on the project of writing this book, we are glad that he was persuaded by one of his co-authors, Bob Thompson, to pursue this historical song.  As Tim tells in the podcast, his one condition for getting involved with the book was to include his friend and collector of all things related to Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Andy Strasberg.

The trio did what all good baseball fans would do and ventured to a ballpark,  Citizen’s Bank Park in this case, to discuss the project and set off on a course to present the song in a beautiful literary package.

They also had the good fortune of working with a talented graphics designer named Damien Castaneda. He was able to take the comprehensive elements of the research that the authors conducted, and put them in a visually appealing format that will speak to any baseball fan.

We get some great insight from Tim about the co-authors of the song Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer.  These two very different personalities crossed paths on Tin Pan Alley back in the early 1900’s, partnered on a few hits prior to 1908 but then hit a homerun on this collaboration.  Interestingly it is the last song that they did together.  Tim has since discovered after publishing the book that this had much to do with Jack Norworth’s equally famous wife, Nora Bayes.

A challenge for any researcher is to determine what information is fact and what information is embellished (this will continue to get more difficult as everyone can now easily publish content, it is no longer required to have printing presses or broadcast facilities).  After Von Tilzer’s death, the great marketer Jack Norworth went on to use various anecdotes to help promote the song’s popularity.  Tim and his co-authors examine many of the claims to get to the true story of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

The book contains a prologue about the death of Albert Von Tilzer as written by Nancy Kriplen.  It represents some of the magical qualities surrounding the game of baseball, and just reinforces our belief that everyone is touched by the game, and has their own unique story to tell about baseball in their lives.

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Yankee fans, and truthfully, any baseball fan will know the book titles that author Peter Golenbock has penned over the course of his career. To name just a few, you have The Bronx Zoo: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees, then you could turn to Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964, or finally pick up a copy of Number 1 Billy Martin.  In reality, you have to check out his Amazon page because he covers a wide range of topics from baseball to NASCAR to Gator football to Tony Curtis and more.  You will find something of interest.

George Steinbrenner | Peter Golenbock | Baseballisms.comOn this episode of Cover the Bases, we are here to talk with Peter about George: The Poor Little Rich Boy Who Built the Yankee Empire.  As we talk in the wake of the New York Yankees 27th World Championship, there was a major presence who was missing at the trophy presentation – George Steinbrenner.  It has come to the point where he physically and mentally cannot attend too many games, and power of ownership has been ceded to his sons Hank and Hal Steinbrenner.  This is now the seventh World Championship of the Steinbrenner regime, and this book chronicles George’s life as a little boy, through his formative years in college and the military, up through early attempts at owning sports franchises, to his days as owner of the New York Yankees.

This book is a comprehensive and complete account of George’s life story as Peter describes it, because he began to collect his information and interview individuals who were central figures way back in 1980.  This has allowed Peter to include elements from those who are no longer with us.

Peter states that he was “born with the baseball gene”, which has compelled him to return again and again to writing about baseball.  He was fortunate enough to have met Jackie Robinson through his Uncle.  Peter has had a rare opportunity, all the way back to 1972, when he received his first contract to write a book about baseball, right at the time of George’s takeover of the Yankees.

George’s story is intriguing because it is just as much about style as it is results.  No one can complain about the fact that he took over a team that was not winning at all, and has now delivered seven championships.  Meanwhile, he was such a meddlesome micro-manager he famously had issues with every employee on and off the field.  He hated to have rookies play on his team, and made trades that were detrimental in the long run.  Finally, he was involved in situations that resulted in getting suspensions from baseball for his actions.  It was during theses suspensions when George could not interfere that the Yankees, that they would build the foundations to achieve their most success! [click to continue…]


Not just for Yankees Fans and not just for She Fans! Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course of True Love with the New York Yankees by Jane Heller, is the story of a baseball fan’s rediscovery of the passion that makes the game of baseball so great.

We are honored to present Jane Heller on the Cover the Bases podcast.  Jane is the author of many romantic comedy novels, and you can find out about her titles and what’s on her mind at this Amazon Blog where she posts.  She also has a great Yankees blog that you should all subscribe to, but it’s her thoughts on the recently released book Confessions of a She-Fan that we are most interested in on the podcast.

The story begins when she writes an article and submits Confessions of a She Fan:  The Course of True Love with the New York Yankeesit to the New York Times Sports Page in 2007, indicating her displeasure with the Yankees and requesting a divorce! The fan backlash was loud and clear and caused her to look inward. It sparked the idea for going on the road with the team to write this book.

By hitting the road, Jane was able to see how fans in other cities interact with their local ballclub, whether they have a history of winning or not.  She was able to admit that she had been spoiled by the riches of the Yankee Dynasty, and witnessed baseball fans at the purest level.

During a visit to Kansas City, waiting for the Royals Express bus to head to Kauffman Stadium, Jane has an “Ah-Ha” moment where she interacts with some hard core She Fans.  The connections made during the trip were beyond just the passionate baseball fans, and female fans attending ballgames, it also included Jane’s husband who accompanied her on this journey. [click to continue…]


We are honored to have author Cecilia Tan join us on this episode of Cover the Bases; Inside Thoughts from Baseball Writers.

Cecilia has written or edited numerous books on a wide range of subjects, and you can find them all at her personal web site Cecilia

She is also the writer at Why I Like Baseball, one of the oldest baseball blogs on the web, started before the term “blog” was even in existence!  Her baseball works include The Fenway Project, The 50 Greatest Red Sox Games, 75: The Red Sox Team that Saved Baseball, and she is the editor of the Yankees Annual every spring.

Cecilia joins us immediately following the New York Yankees clinching their 27th World Series Championship, to discuss her book The 50 Greatest Yankee Games50 Yankee

As we always do at we start off by finding out how Cecilia was compelled to write a book about Yankee baseball.

A serendipitous luncheon with the editor of her other titles ended in determining Cecilia needed to put together the ultimate book chronicling these greatest games.

Here at Baseballisms we like how her book is written in such a way that will provide context of the game and the season at hand, plus it tells the story building up to the real drama behind the moments that are indelibly etched in our minds or in the pages of history.

We talk about the 1904 game when Jack Chesbro threw away the American League pennant on a wild pitch.  History recounts the wayward spitball in many ways, but the outcome was the same.  This greatest game was a loss in the final game of the Championship Series of that era.

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